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Frequent Childhood Nightmares May Indicate Increased Risk of Psychosis

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly three-in-four children experience nightmares, but in some cases, frequent bad dreams or night terrors may put kids an an increased risk of mental health problems later in life.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, analyzed data from about 7,000 children between the ages of 2 and 9. The children's mothers were asked at various times whether their children experienced "nighttime disturbances."

Researchers found that those children who had nightmares on a regular basis were about 3.5 times more likely to suffer from psychosis in early adolescence than children who did not suffer frequent nightmares. Children who were categorized as suffering "persistent night terrors" had nearly double the risk of other mental health problems as well.

Researchers say that parents who notice their children dealing with chronic nightmares can seek help and deal with such problems early.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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